A proposal to pull out tunnel-digging machines in North Beach has spurred debate about the prospect of building additional stations to extend the Central Subway project north of Chinatown. But transit officials say that’s not in the current plans, and such a move would take years more planning.
San Francisco transit director Ed Reiskin wants to use $6.7 million in extra regional transportation funds for a 12-month pilot program to hand out free Fast Passes to the city’s low-income youth and to rehabilitate light-rail vehicles.
The dilapidated Alexandria Theater might actually get renovated by early next year, saving at least the facade of the Richmond District landmark. But the new building would not look much its predecessor on the inside, with entertainment giving way to needed housing and retail.
The poor on-time performance of San Francisco’s public transit, which the city started reporting accurately over the summer, is officially a trend. Muni vehicles were on time 58 percent in September, up a little more than one percent from the previous month. But it was more than 10 percentage points lower than the numbers the agency regularly reported last year using what it said was flawed methodology. A shortage of drivers and an aging fleet of buses contributed to last month’s poor performance, said Muni spokesman Paul Rose. Rose gave the same reasons for August’s report card.
The city is hoping a combination of new and rehabilitated buses will improve Muni’s reliability. The Municipal Transportation Agency wants to buy 45 low-floor hybrid-diesel buses and upgrade 80 biodiesel buses.
Muni’s all-door boarding policy that went into effect July 1 appears to be working – although riders on at least one line are complaining about everyone not lining up at the front. A transit agency report found that passengers spent less time waiting at bus stops for riders to board while use of the back door became more frequent.
Hate it when you’re late to work because the Muni driver tells you to get off the train? You’re not the only one. San Francisco’s civil grand jury — a kind of officially sanctioned panel of city residents who report on what doesn’t work in county government — recommended on Thursday that Muni officials do away with the practice of switchbacks. That’s when riders are forced off a Muni train before it makes its usual final stop, and heads in the opposite direction to make up for lost time elsewhere. Muni downplayed the report. “We recognize that anytime you do a switchback, it has an inconvenience to the riders,” Haley said. “So we do everything we can to minimize that,” said John Haley, Muni’s director of operations.
Bus rapid transit, which is meant as a cheaper substitute to light rail by using special buses in dedicated traffic lanes, is set to debut on Van Ness Avenue in 2016. However, design challenges and funding are slowing down plans for the Geary route.
Audit also finds that transit agency should seek reimbursement for city events
A city audit released Tuesday said the Municipal Transportation Agency needs to do a better job training parking control officers. The audit, conducted by the city controller’s office, looked at whether parking control officers are adequately trained, how officers are deployed throughout the city and if staffing levels are sufficent.
San Francisco transportation officials need to do a better job managing parking and if they make extra money to balance its books in the process, all the better. That’s what the head of the city’s Municipal Transportation Agency is telling city supervisors as he tries to close an expected $17 million budget gap over the next two fiscal years.